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Triennial Budget Planning shows success

The Oneida Nation is in year three of a new triannual budget planning schedule, and the results are encouraging, according to Oneida Business Committee (OBC) Treasurer Trish King.

“Instead of starting the year with a deficit, we started the year at a balance. That’s the first time that’s happened in I don’t know how long,” said King,

The new process started in response to possible fiscal hurdles facing Oneida in 2014. It was projected that gaming and retail revenue would be in decline as was funding from Indian Health Services.  At the time, tribal departments created their budgets year to year.

“We’re changing from a line item budget to a value-based budget. And in order to do that, we had to get to some values, said King. “We changed timing and scheduling, we changed how we report to the General Tribal Council, as well as how we’re asking them for input to help us build a budget before we build the budget.”

The OBC created a budget core team, sent out quality of life surveys, and held General Tribal Council (GTC) meetings to help set budget priorities.

“Everybody has an opportunity to share their voice on what they want to see when developing the budget,” said King.

After the elections in 2017, the newly inagarated OBC created a strategic plan based on the following foundations: Trust, Value‐Based Budgeting, Sovereignty Protection, Change Management, and Communication. The plan also included six goals:

  •  Advancing Onᴧyoteʔa·ká· principles
  •  Exercising Sovereignty
  •  Improving Organizational Changes
  • Promoting Community Relations
  •  Inspiring Yukwatsístayᴧ
  • Encouraging TsiʔniyukwalihoT^

Then, on March 14, 2018, the Oneida Business Committee passed the Triennial Strategic Plan concept where FY 2018 is a year of transition to implement a 3‐year fiscal plan.

“In the beginning of it, it was form after form after form after form, and we’re saying we don’t want the forms, because you’re just cutting a pasting and putting something in a box, and that’s going to go up on a shelf some place and sit there. And what we’re trying to say is your plan should be constantly moving,” said King.

It took a while to get all the arrows pointing in one direction.

“It has taken considerable time … to assess, to define what it is we want to get, what is the objective, and to setting the path. How do we do it again?” said King.

As department executives and managers create budgets, they look three years down the road to assess changes that may be coming.

“You should be assessing it annually to determine how progressive you are, and if you need to make some changes, then by all means, make those changes, as long as you get to your end goal which will support vision and mission,” she said. “I’ve got to compliment all the executives and all of the managers for actually coming along helping me complete this process and then even the General Tribal Council participating in the ways that they do. They’re not realizing that we’re considering what they’ve done in the past as part of that trending … When we work together, everybody benefits.”